by Travis Thompson
For some people, owning a hot rod, sports car, or muscle car is about more than just having the fastest car in town. Now I’m not talking about giving up performance for the sake of looking good, but it is possible to improve performance and appearance at the same time. Take this little how-to project for example. Steve Strangis takes pride in showing his 2005 Mustang GT and he wanted to do something special that would add some horsepower and some sparkle under the hood.
Steve ordered a polished-aluminum Power-Flow cold-air intake from Injen and a set of powder-coated valve covers from Ford Racing Performance Parts. He recruited friend John, who spends his days as an SVT technician at a local Ford dealership. Steve chose the Injen intake because of its great polished look and the fact that it doesn’t require a new tune to work with the Mustang’s factory computer. If and when Steve goes to the dyno with the intake, I’ll let you know how the air/fuel ratio looks. The Ford Racing valve covers were also chosen for their chrome-like appearance, though Ford Racing declares that these “Cam Covers” are not chrome plated, but powder coated for a shiny, durable finish.
John and Steve completed this install in around two hours time, including posing for the pictures. Check out these before, how-to, and after photos to see if this project is for you, and just what you’re getting yourself into.
This is Injen’s Power-Flow intake for the 2005–2006 Mustang GT. From left to right you can see the black heat shield, the pipe that meets with the throttle body, the second pipe that houses the factory mass airflow sensor (MAF), and the filter. Above those is the black composite adapter—which connects the MAF pipe, the heat shield, and the filter—as well as the silicone hoses and hose clamps.
This is Steve’s engine compartment with the stock intake and valve covers in place. He already has some billet caps and a color-matched engine cover, but he’s just getting started.
This project begins with the removal of the factory intake. Loosen the hose clamp holding the intake pipe to the throttle body and remove the hose running from the side of the intake pipe to the passenger-side valve cover.
There’s just one bolt holding the air box in place. Remove it, unplug the MAF, and you can wiggle the entire intake system out of there in one piece.
If you’re just doing an intake, you can skip ahead to the step (step 15) where we swap the factory MAF into the new intake. To get the valve covers off, first unplug all the wiring to the injectors and coil-on-plug units. Then unplug the wiring harness to fuel rail and use a fuel line removal tool (shown) to separate the fuel lines from the fuel rails.
Next, unbolt the coil-on-plug units and pull them out.
Follow around the perimeter of the valve covers and loosen all the bolts.
With everything out of the way you can pull the valve covers off. These valve covers were surprisingly clean.
The gaskets came off cleanly with the valve covers, but there is one spot that requires a little cleaning by hand. Ford uses a little silicone to ensure a leak-free seal where the head, front cover, and valve cover meet, and you’ll have to scrape that off with a gasket removal tool.
The factory valve-cover gaskets appear to be reusable, but Steve opted for a new set to go with his new valve covers.
With the new gaskets in place and the mating surfaces on the heads cleaned off, John drops the new Ford Racing valve covers into place. The installation wasn’t difficult, even with the gaggle of hoses and wires in the area.
The shiny new valve covers go on the same way the others came off. Here John torques them down to the factory spec in a crisscross pattern.
Carefully reinstall the coil-on-plug units into the new valve covers and torque them down to spec.
Reconnect the wiring for the coil-on-plug units, the injectors, the fuel rail, and hoses that run to the valve cover. Wipe off any fingerprints or other marks that may have gotten on the new valve covers.
There is one other special consideration on the passenger side. The plastic oil filler must be transferred from the old valve cover to the new. It merely twists off and then on again, but be careful not break off the little tab that locks it in place. We learned that one the hard way.
Now back to the intake. You must remove the MAF from the factory intake pipe using a Torx bit or tool.
Reinstall the MAF into the new intake pipe. If you’re feeling ambitious, you could opt for a little thread locker to keep the MAF tightened in place.
It’s time to prep the car for the new intake. First remove this 10-mm bolt to the left of the strut tower. It helps hold down the Injen heat shield.
Unhook this connector to gain access to another 10-mm bolt.
This second bolt must also be removed and later reinstalled to hold down the Injen heat shield.
Maneuver the heat shield into place but just hand tighten the bolts, as you may need to reposition the shield slightly to get things to fit properly. Install this adapter by tighten the four bolts as shown.
Install the new silicon coupler to the throttle body. It’s also a good idea to slide a couple hose clamps on as well, that way you won’t scratch the polished Injen pipe later on.
The first of the polished Injen pipes slides right into the coupler. You may not want to tighten it down completely until you’ve lined up the rest of the system.
The second of the Injen pipes goes on between the first and the composite adapter mounted to the heat shield. This is where the alignment gets tricky. It took quite a bit of rearranging to get everything lined up properly. We wished more than once for an extra inch of hose coupler to work with.
Make sure you have enough of the hose couplers overlapping on each of the pipes to ensure a leak-free system. Once you get it right, tighten down all the hose clamps. Check everything over—don’t kid yourself, if it isn’t right, it will leak.
Connect this tube to the new Injen tube and passenger-side valve cover.
With the piping lined up and the hose clamps tightened down, it’s safe to tighten down the bolts holding the heat shield in place.
Reconnect this giant electrical connector only after tightening the lower heat-shield bolt below.
With the lower bolt and harness taken care of, it’s finally time to install the air filter and attach it to the composite adapter.
Don’t forget to hook the MAF back up.
Injen supplies a sort of gasket to go between the top of the heat shield and bottom of the hood. It simply slips over the top of the heat shield and can be trimmed to length.
Here’s the Injen Power-Flow cold-air intake installed. It matches quite well with the billet aluminum caps, and even the new powder-coated valve covers, which have a way of hiding under all the wires and hoses.
Here’s a closer look at the passenger-side valve cover. As you can see it has a way of reflecting whatever is in front of it and making itself invisible. You definitely couldn’t call it an overpowering visual upgrade—just tasteful.